Shuttler Prajakta Sawant, who was in the news for accusing national coach Pullela Gopichand of “mental harassment” last year, said she is ready to give it all in the forthcoming Indian Badminton League (IBL). Nevertheless, the 21-year-old was surprised when she came to know that she was bought by the Delhi franchise for only USD 7000.
According to Prajakta, the fact that she was amongst the last players to feature in the auction could have worked against her. “My name came late and all the Gopichand Academy players were listed first, that’s what even Ashwini (Ponnappa) told some newspapers,” Prajakta told MiD DAY.
“Actually the base price of players who played the Sudirman Cup and Asian Games was USD 15,000. When I discussed this with my owners, they said your name came late and by then we had used up the amount on other players.
“But I have no complaints since this is just the first year. More than the money, I am happy to be part of IBL. I have to play well and win for the team. Money is not as important as winning,” she added.
Prajakta is shocked that Jwala Gutta (USD 31,000) and Ashwini Ponnappa (USD 25,000) went for lesser bids compared to Pradnya Gadre. “I was surprised when I heard that Pradnya Gadre got USD 46,000 compared to Jwala and Ashwini. It came as a complete shock to me as both of them are Olympians as well as India’s top women’s doubles players.”
Prajakta is training with coach Syed Mohammed Arif in Hyderabad along with Jwala. The Delhi Smashers’ three-day camp will begin in New Delhi on August 11.
Prajakta praised her mentor Jwala’s influence on her game. “I like to play with her (Jwala). She is also very nice to me off the court. It’s a dream to play alongside her.” Prajakta rued the fact that there is no women’s doubles competition in IBL but hoped it will be included next season.